Like any Archie Comics devotee, I am well-versed in the eternal Betty vs. Veronica debate. While there are genuinely wonderful and not-so-wonderful qualities about both girls, I feel the need to take a bit of a stand. Veronica gets a bum rap! Overwhelmingly, people say things like, “Well Veronica’s a bitch, but I love her anyway” or “Archie will be miserable if he marries Veronica.” She’s seen as high-maintenance, difficult, manipulative and, of course, extremely spoiled. And okay, she can be all of these things. (Who can’t?!) But she’s also so much more:
- She’s incredibly enthusiastic and spirited. Veronica loves to have fun and is always willing to drop everything in favor of a day at the beach or a night on the town. Sure, her entitled upbringing is probably the reason she feels so unburdened by life’s hardships, but that kind of carefree attitude makes her a super-awesome activity partner.
- She doesn’t have the easiest home life . Okay, I know she’s unbelievably wealthy and surrounded by maids, servants and butlers at all times. But isn’t that kind of… sad? She’s just a high school girl at heart and instead of spending time with siblings or cousins or neighbors, she hangs out with her staff. Sure, Mr. Lodge showers her with presents, sends her on glamorous vacations and pretty much never says no to anything she asks, but he’s also not very involved in her life, other than an open hatred for her boyfriend. He uses money to shut her up and make his own life easier. Along those lines, have you ever thought about what a terrible mother Mrs. Lodge is? The Lodges are NOT divorced – supposedly this woman lives in the mansion – yet we only see her about once a year when she whisks Veronica off to fashion week.
- She’s extremely generous. Say what you will about Veronica being spoiled, but nobody is more unselfish with her friends than this poor little rich girl. She regularly gives Betty a brand-new wardrobe (a little condescending, but cool nonetheless), brings the whole gang on lavish vacations, buys them extravagant presents and includes them in the fancy shenanigans she gets up to. She’s also always willing to lend money or pay for that too-expensive item they’ve been eyeing at the mall.
- She has a good heart. For every evil-scheming-Veronica story, there’s a deep-down-Veronica-is-a-good-person story to match. One of my favorites involves Veronica listing the reasons it’s actually hard to be popular (bear with me): over-scheduling, the need to please everyone, the pressure of being a trend-setter. She sounds kind of ridiculous as her life obviously looks amazing – but at the end, she turns to the window and adds, sorrowfully (or as sorrowfully as a cartoon bubble can sound), “No, it isn’t easy being popular. Especially when you suspect you’re not as popular as you think.” Out the window, she sees Betty walking by, surrounded by adoring boys. A single tear slides down Veronica’s cheek. Cue matching tear on my cheek.